Yearbook of European Law - Vol. 14

By Francis Geoffrey Jacobs | Go to book overview
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The European Commission and the Enforcement of Environmental Law: an Invidious Position


I. Introduction

'In a treatise upon photography . . . one may assume the existence of the sun. In remarks upon the mischiefs of bureaucracy one may assume the excellence of the civil service.'1

The Commission is charged both with enforcement and with overtly political functions. Such duties may not make easy bedfellows. The possible effects of this juxtaposition of responsibilities on the application and enforcement of Community2 environmental law is of concern in the context of an ostensibly democratic political structure. Few would disagree with the basic principles of democracy, but it is in the mundane practices of daily life that they must be realized, and it is with such practices that this article is concerned.

II. The Constitution of the Commission

There is limited constitutional provision in the EC Treaty. With regard to the Commission, the relevant Articles are 155 to 163. Article 162.2 provides that the Commission shall adopt its rules of procedure so as to ensure that both it and its departments operate in accordance with the provisions of the Treaty. Those rules must be published.

The Rules of Procedure of the Commission which entered into force on 11 September 19933 replaced the provisional Rules of Procedure of 1967. There are just over three pages of rules, very much a bare framework, covering points such as the conduct of meetings of the Commission, other decision-making procedures, the preparation and implementation of Commission decisions, and deputizing.

Rt. Hon. Lord Hewart of Bury, The New Despotism (Ernst Benn Ltd, 1929) 13.
The environmental policy of the European Community is often wrongly referred to as that of the European Union. In accordance with the provisions of the Environment Title of the EC Treaty, environmental law and policy at EC level is here referred to as 'Community' law and policy. The EU is referred to where appropriate, in accordance with Part Two of the EC Treaty.
OJ 1993 L 230/15.
© Rhiannon Williams, 1995. Formerly DG XI European Commission.


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Yearbook of European Law - Vol. 14
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